By Laura Giner Bair
Temperatures recently hovered in the ballpark of 90s degrees, or warmer. However, attendance at the City of Newburgh’s Delano-Hitch Aquatic Center is lower than it was in 2015.
Dante Davis, a summer recreation manager and college sophomore monitors capacity at the pool’s entrance. Full capacity at the pool is about 400 patrons, Davis said.
“The full capacity number was reached several times in the summer of 2015,” he said. “A few times we had lines of people outside waiting for someone to leave the pool before they could go in.”
So far this summer attendance numbers haven’t surpassed 300 at a given time, and have even dipped as low as between 60-80, Davis said.
The city found itself in a difficult predicament as summer approached; a possibility existed that the pool wouldn’t open at all. On May 2 a state of emergency was declared by City Manager Michael Ciaravino “due to the discovery of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in Silver Stream and Washington Lake.” The state of emergency was lifted a day later after the city switched its water source to Brown’s Pond, and put the wheels in motion to tap into the Catskill Aqueduct.
Although city water was deemed safe for human consumption following the switch, strict water conservation measures remained that prevented the use of water to fill the pool. Thanks to a 157,000-gallon gift of water from New Windsor, the pool opened just as the school year ended.
Still, worries about water linger. Several sunbathers at the pool were asked why they thought attendance was lower this year. Consistently, the answer was: “people are afraid of the water.” The fears are unfounded, however, as PFOS contamination never existed in New Windsor’s water supply, which was used to fill the pool.
To read the full article see the Friday, July 22 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.